But Simon answered and said to him, “Master we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net.” — Luke 5:5
Why do you obey God? Really think about that question and try to formulate an answer before you read on. I recently listened to a sermon that reminded me of one of those “Hell, fire and brimstone” sermons. I’m certainly not against these, but they must be done well. This one was not done so well. Basically, the gist was that we must obey God or suffer the consequences. We must forsake the wicked ways of this world because the punishment for not doing so is inevitable. This, of course, is true, but also incomplete.
As hard as I tried as a young, beginning Christian, I could not do right. There was part of my problem; I looked at it as “doing right” instead of “being obedient.” Anyway, I honestly believed God would send me to Hell for a lot of the stuff I was doing and would find myself doing it anyway. I would ask for forgiveness and hope that my life wasn’t about to end like the rich man’s in Luke 16. My primary motivation to do right was fear. Despite my fear, I had a major problem; I still loved the sinful things that I was doing. I can only imagine how silly I looked promising God, “I’ll never do it again,” when He and I both knew that I would.
Too often, God is presented as bad medicine. He is good for you, but He tastes horrible. I feel like Peter thinks of Jesus this way at this precise moment. “We’ve toiled all night” is his way of saying “I don’t want to.” “And caught nothing,” is his way of saying “I don’t think it will do any good.” “Nevertheless, at thy word,” is reluctant obedience. But, it is obedience nonetheless.
There was a series of things that I reluctantly obeyed that changed everything for me. The place called Hell ceased to be the primary motivating factor and I obeyed simply because Jesus said to in the Bible. It is very important to note that I did not want to do any of them, but I did them anyway.
“Nevertheless, at thy word, I will obey.”
Which of Christ’s commands do you have the hardest time obeying? What makes you hesitate and not want to obey?
Maybe He is asking you to end a toxic relationship.
Maybe He is asking you to carve out time each day for just you and Him.
Maybe He is asking you go to work or school today with a great attitude.
Maybe He is asking you to take on or be a part of a ministry.
Think long and hard. What are the nets in your life He is asking you to let down that you just don’t want to let down?
Would you let them down anyway, just because Jesus asks you to?
Peter did, and man did he receive a blessing . . . and it wasn’t just fish.